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We assess the impact of cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality on economic growth, using a dynamic panel growth regression framework taking into account potential endogeneity problems. In the worldwide sample we detect a non-linear influence of working age CVD mortality rates on growth across the per capita income scale. Splitting the sample (according to the resulting income threshold) into low- and middle-income countries, and high-income countries, we find a robust negative contribution of increasing CVD mortality rates on subsequent five-year growth rates in the latter sample. Not too surprisingly, we find no significant impact in the low- and middle-income country sample. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.